Slocum Pounds Sulphur Bluff, 10-0
By Will Johnson
LINDALE – The Slocum Lady Mustangs will be headed back to Austin to defend their Class 1A State Championship in softball after they defeated the Sulphur Bluff Lady Bears on Thursday evening by a score of 10-0.
Jalyn Fletcher was in the pitcher’s circle for the Lady Mustangs and made quick work of the Lady Bears in the top of the first inning.
After Fletcher retired the side in order, she led off the bottom of the first with a single and then promptly stole second. Following outs by Courtney January and Jessi Ives, Taylor Clark ripped a triple into the left field gap to plate Fletcher with the game’s first run.
Clark wasn’t at third very long as Briley Evers delivered a single to drive in Clark and make the score 2-0.
Following a Shelby Bowman pop-up for the third out, Fletcher went back to the circle and dominated the Lady Bears as she struck out the side.
Sulphur Bluff was able to get two quick outs on the Lady Mustangs in the bottom of the inning as Bella McNeill and Laney Lasiter were retired.
That brought the top of the line-up to the plate and Fletcher wasted little time in padding the Slocum lead. On a 2-1 pitch, she connected with a Lady Bear pitch for a homerun. January followed with a single and then Ives drove her in with a triple to make the score 4-0.
After Clark popped up to end the inning, Fletcher ran into some trouble in the top of the third but was able to dance around it and retire the Lady Bears unscathed.
Fletcher struck out the first batter she faced but the second batter reached on an error and then stole second. Following a K on the next hitter, Fletcher issued a walk to put runners at first and second.
The Lady Mustangs were unfazed, however, as Fletcher struck out the fifth batter of the inning to retire the side with Slocum still ahead 4-0.
When the Lady Mustangs came to bat in the bottom of the third, they put the game away as they scored six runs to take a 10-0 lead.
Evers led off the inning by fouling out, but after that, the flood gates opened. Kara Cumby tripled into the left field corner and scored on Bowman’s double. McNeill was up next and sacrificed Bowman to third.
Lasiter followed McNeill in the batter’s box and dropped a bunt in front of the plate that allowed Bowman to score. On the play, an overthrow at first gave Lasiter a chance to motor around the base paths and to cross home plate, giving Slocum a 7-0 lead.
Fletcher was up next and reached first safely and then stole second. January followed with a little flare into the outfield to score Fletcher.
Ives was the next Lady Mustang to bat and she reached first on an error. On the play, January took third. Clark followed with a single to drive in both January and Ives which made the score 10-0.
That was all the Lady Mustangs need as Fletcher shut the Lady Bears down in the fourth and fifth innings to give Slocum the 10-0 victory.
The win moves the Lady Mustangs into the UIL Class 1A State Softball Tournament. The 1A semifinal games will be played at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor while the finals will be played at McCombs Field in Austin.
Currently, the UIL website lists the Borden County Lady Coyotes as the Lady Mustangs opponent in the state semifinal game. The date and time have not been set as of press time.
Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHOTOS BY STEPHANIE LIMERICK